Post Malone’s ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’ is all skin and no bones

Ryan Reichard, Columnist

When Post Malone was first introduced to the world in 2015 with his hit “White Iverson,” there was a vastly different musical landscape one that was centered around R&B influenced production and pop hooks. Since then, there has been a shift in the landscape to include more trap-influenced production paired with catchy pop hooks. While the shift may seem subtle, it has paved the way for many of today’s most popular artists, including Lizzo, Billie Ellish, and, of course, Post Malone. 

The rapper and singer has taken advantage of this musical transition in producing several hits such as “Rockstar,” “Sunflower” and “Congratulations.” While his songs have proved inescapable on the radio, there has always been a quality missing from many of his songs. 

This is one of the main problems that plagues “Hollywood’s Bleeding;” there is a lack of lyrical quality across most of the tracks that don’t go beyond skin deep. One of the strongest examples of this is on the track “Saint-Tropez,” where Post Malone flexes with the shallowest of brags, including drinking copious amounts of Bud Light as if he couldn’t afford a higher end beer and detracts from the claims of being rich, as the majority of people can afford that brand of beer.

Post Malone also highlights wearing “Versace boxers on my dick,” which doesn’t exactly flaunt wealth as they can be found on Amazon for $29. Then there’s the production of the song, which doesn’t do anything to aid in the quality, with the slow-rolling, bass-heavy production proving an odd pairing against Post Malone’s flow. 

Then there’s the DaBaby-assisted track “Enemies,” where Post Malone once again tries his best to flex his riches, all the while annoyingly repeating several words again and again (“Think that we don’t see who you are, are, are? / Guess that I’m just talkin’ too much blah, blah, blah”). Then DaBaby hops on to contribute his verse and spits his rat-a-tat flow over an off-kilter tap and bass production, which is jarring against Post Malone’s more singsong style. 

“Circles” had the potential to be a stand out track on the album with the softer, beat-heavy production had it not been for Post Malone’s contradictory lyrics: “I said so, I knew that this was doomed from the get-go / You thought that it was special, special / But it was just the sex though, the sex though / Make up your mind, tell me, what are you gonna do?” 

Since Post Malone was treating the relationship as a hookup from the get go, the blame should not be on the girl in the song. He knew it was doomed from the start, then blames her for not making up his mind if he knew from the start that it wouldn’t work, he was the one at fault and not the girl. 

Similar to “Circles,” “Goodbyes” proves Post Malone’s talent for writing a catchy pop hook, but only to have Young Thug come in with his voice auto tuned to the max and screech over his bars.  

However, “Hollywood’s Bleeding” is not without a few decent songs. “Staring at the Sun” is the improved version of “Sunflower” as Post Malone and SZA have genuine vocal interplay and sell the melancholy of the relationship depicted very well, with both being blind to their faults that helped attribute to the downfall of the relationship. 

Then there’s “A Thousand Bad Times” where Post Malone gets more vulnerable and realizes that his status in the music industry is not permanent, and that one day the fame and success will be gone. 

The best song on “Hollywood’s Bleeding” is the Ozzy Osborne and Travis Scott assisted “Take What You Want.” Most of this can be attributed to Ozzy Osborne, whose vocals remain as strong as ever as he begs his partner to take what she wants and to leave him alone while singing over a rock-inspired production consisting of heavy drums and screaming electric guitar. 

Remove Travis Scott’s bland, robotic verse and it will have huge success on rock radio based off of the Ozzy Osborne feature alone. “Take What You Want” is a prime example that Post Malone could make a rock album if he wanted to.

Overall, much of “Hollywood’s Bleeding” lacks the lyrical structure to build an album that goes beyond skin deep. However, it is an improvement over Post Malone’s previous albums. It’s an easy two stars out of five and is a step forward for Post Malone, who continues to pave his way in the modern music landscape.